The Cake That Almost Wasn’t

Wrapping up this marathon of May birthdays is my sister’s, as she turns 19 this year. Yikes, can you believe it?

A picky eater if anything, I was excited by the propect of making the Vegan with a Vengance ‘Chocolate Raspberry Blackout Cake’ in an attempt to sneak extra fruit into her sparse diet. Raspberries were her favorite after all, and who can say no to anything with chocolate in addition?

So I set out at Stop and Shop to buy supplies; I’ve been baking so much lately, we needed to stock up on basics like flour and sugar again. But what’s this? Not a single raspberry amongst the whole selection of produce? Okay, I’m aware they are painfully out of season right now, but I had just seen pints upon pints of these in every market around! Well, no matter, I would just have to try somewhere else after dinner. I ran home and hit the ground baking – It was already getting late and there was no time to loose.

I will admit that going into the oven, the consistency of the batter worried me a little. It was so watery, I was afraid that it would be a mush of cake and pudding in the end. Luckily, I was very pleasantly surprised and they were absolutely lovely. The pans were set out on the counter to cool, and I returned to my hunt for the elusive raspberries.

The first target was Shaw’s. We even asked, in case they might be stocking invisible fruit these days, or if they had decided that they were better suited to be shelved among more similar items, like the canned soups. The employee helpfully proved a completely unintelligible answer, and since there didn’t appear to be any random hidden berries along the isles, we moved on. Trader Joe’s was right across the street, so it was a quick stop… Where they didn’t have any either. Umm… Okay…

At this point I was beginning to think that this might not work. But I had already made the layers with raspberry jam, I couldn’t just toss in some odd fruit that we had on hand. And what else would the finicky recipient eat? I was totally stuck. So onto our tiny little Stratfield Market… to discover nothing useful. Crap!!

But enough was enough. It was pretty obvious by now that we just weren’t going to find fresh raspberries. Frozen were breifly considered… but they were for decoration afterall, and frozen berries are just so… ugly. Crazily tearing through drawers and cupboards in our own kitchen, I decided that I would have to settle on something far less nutritious, but maybe in the end more enjoyable to my sister: Sprinkles. Yes, my sister is a sprinkle fiend, so just for her, I ultimately emptied an entire jar of mixed hearts and jimmy’s over the raspberry blackout cake…

She didn’t even care about the berries, the copious amounts of chocolate and sugar were enough for her. She did actually comment that the extra jam between the layers really made the cake, as did a handful of others present. It just goes to show, who knows how much better it could have been with real fruit!!

Such lovely layers… Definitely a recipe that will see many reappearances in the future. A wonderfully moist cake with a light, tender crumb. Not overly dense at all, and delightfully sweet with that touch of raspberry jam. Maybe I could make a variation using blueberry jam… Or perhaps apricot… But no matter what, next time, I’ll plan to use fruit that’s in season.

Sometimes, thats just how the cake crumbles.

[Check out those glowing sprinkles! Not the best pictures due to lighting conditions.]

2 thoughts on “The Cake That Almost Wasn’t

  1. My little brother turned 19 this year as well – it was nuts. I feel so old! That’s an awesome cake, I have to say. I’ve never seen so many sprinkles in my life! I think a version with apricot jam would be marvelous.

  2. You inspired me last week to make this cake, and man was it excellent! There’s just something about the jam in the batter that just gives it that extra oomph. I didn’t have fresh raspberries *or* sprinkles, but it was still tatsy. : )

    Now I’ve got to get through finals week, and then maybe I can treat myself to your chocolate espresso cake. Mmmmm.

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